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Post Reply Censorship on Manga, your opinion?
PauPow 
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Posted 1/21/14 , edited 1/21/14
So, I've been buying I''s from Masakazu Katsura on digital from Viz Manga and just now, I realized that it's censored. I looked online and it looks like Viz Media covered the nipples of the female characters. I'm usually really anti-censorship but... This time to be 100% honest I'm a bit divided...

On one side:
1) There should not be censorship! Specially in the digital version of a manga.
2) The manga is rated M on the cover!

On the other side:
1) There is big problem here, Masakazu Katsura has an extremely realistic style (specially for the female anatomy). The main characters on I''s are underage. If Viz didn't take that measure how long do you think it would take to see parents or news reports saying "Manga teaches teenage porn to your kids!" and "Prepare the torches!" type of articles?
2) Does it really ruin your experience? I hate censorship but in this case, does it really ruin my experience? Meaning I read the manga because I like the characters and the story... Not being able to see the nipples of an underage female character doesn't really ruin my day.
3) Double standard. I understand that many otakus (mostly guys) are really upset about the subject. But do we have here a bit of a "double standard" case? Meaning, if the censorship was over the anatomy of a male character, would we have that many people against it?
4) US laws. There is a really grey area regarding this subject in the States. Usually drawings can be justify as a "non realistic depiction of a character". Basically, it is not a picture of a real person therefore you can't prove that is underage. In this case the problem is that the drawings are realistic and they confirm many times in the manga that they are indeed underage. The possibilities of someone with enough money to get a good lawyer and have a case are not that remote.

Probably because I'm from Spain, I hate censorship. We suffered censorship and repression for many decades because of the dictatorship. In the other side, I kind of understand not wanted to show nudity of a realistic drawing of an underage girl. So because I'm kind of divided this time I really wanted to know other otaku's opinion about the subject.

Thanks and have a great day!
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Posted 1/21/14
Hmmm gotta say i'm indifferent, that could be because so far in Manga, I haven't seen insane over the top censoring, they would more or less just do what I call the plastic model, which is pretty much just not have the sexual parts shown, think Barbie dolls here. Others use what is used in Anime a lot like, rays of light or steam, etc, which also doesn't bother me.

Now if I read something that suddenly had like huge black bars covering something up, i'd be a bit upset. But even from Viz the worse I have seen is some extra shading to cover up like pantsu or whatever. I haven't read anything from Viz that would require censoring really though, most I read that actually show anything I think were from Seven Seas.

So to talk about your points here:

On One Side:
1: For the most part a lot of censoring I think comes from the Manga itself, as in following laws in Japan. Though I am certain some will be edited going into the states, but that could easily be edited poorly (what you seem to be describing from Viz) or in a better way (i'm sure some "darkside" [read:illegal] translators/editors change some bits and pieces of the artwork as well before putting them on their websites.

2: What is considered Mature here could be something entirely different in Japan, and vice versa.

On the other side:

For point 1: I haven't read this series so I can't say how realistic it is, but personally I don't think realism or not should play a factor in this, though I suppose it obviously could.

2: No censorship (so far) has not ruined anything, as I said worse I have seen is your basic censorship, plastic body or steam/light blocking the view.

Also your point 3 and point 4 are probably big points here. There are double standards, Manga is primarily, although not exclusively, targeted towards Males, and ages i'd say 15 to 22? Meaning they are not made to show guys junk, and are made to show voluptuous females. But here in the States, can't say for Japan, we tend to have insanely strict laws on nudity in general, and you can double that when it comes to underaged (18) girls and boys. Whether it is art or not. So just releasing anything, legally, with it is walking a thin and I do mean THIN line.

TL;DR : I'm indifferent to basic censoring and nudity in Manga/Art (whether girl or guy). But i'd probably be upset if it was suddenly like: Big Black Bar covering the persons parts or page. Also laws here vs laws in Japan fighting alongside publishing rights and etc can change a lot of things.
PauPow 
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Posted 1/21/14 , edited 1/21/14
Really good points. Personally I feel a bit dumb because I read I''s many years ago (in Spanish) and after buying the English edition I didn't realized it was censored until volume 11. I never realized it until I read some comment of an angry fan in a forum. I'm more worried about bad translations than covering nipples to be honest. For example when the language of the original material the main characters says something like "onii chan" and they translate that as "bro". I know is a small detail but it really annoys me. Also bothers me when the original material the cursing is pretty light and suddenly in the English version everyone sounds like a upset truck driver.
oz100 
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Posted 1/21/14
In the US, there is something called the PROTECT Act of 2003, which could be why some nudity in manga get censored by publishers to avoid getting in huge trouble. There's also the Miller Test to see if a work is obscene or not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller_Test

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PROTECT_Act_of_2003

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Posted 1/21/14
One important consideration is whether it is censored in the Japanese version. In general, US companies don't censor manga more than the original is, though I believe that VIZ has done so in the past. Another consideration is whether it would have to be shrink-wrapped in stores. A lot of stores are less likely to carry shrink-wrapped titles, and people are less likely to buy them because they can't flip through them.

In terms of your points:
On the one side
(1) I agree, though I don't think it really makes a difference for print or digital.
(2) The rating isn't necessarily always that accurate. For example, in Wolfsmund Vol 2 from Vertical, which is rated 16+, There is considerable female nudity, including a girl who is at most 13. There is also a lot of gore, sex, and sexual assault/abuse. I don't know how this title is rated 16+ and not 18+.

On the other side:
(1) I suspect that the ship has already sailed on this one, and I suspect that it would be more of an issue with a title rated for a younger audience than one rated mature.
(2) I think whether it ruins the experience really depends on the title. For unobtrusive censorship that is hard to notice, it doesn't. However, recently (past few years) changes in censorship laws in Japan have caused new manga to be censored. My experience with this is just with Yaoi, but I suspect that the same thing is true with Hentai. In this case, it depends on how the artist deals with it. When there are a whole bunch of glowing white circles everywhere, it definitely interferes, but other artists work around the restrictions well.
(3) In terms of Yaoi titles, women definitely are annoyed by the Japanese censorship as well. There are some discussions of it in the early comments here and here.
(4) It seems like it wasn't an issue with Wolfsmund, but I really don't know much about law. However it seems like as long as we aren't dealing with underage characters, US is much more lax than Japan about censoring nudity right now. I also believe that the age of consent in Japan is 17 rather than 18, but I could be wrong about that.
PauPow 
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Posted 1/21/14 , edited 1/21/14
Both post with good points. My point regarding the double standard, I didn't mean to sound like I was saying that female readers don't have the similar problems (often with yaoi). My point was that several readers (in the I''s censorship case) were saying that their fight was against censorship itself nothing to do with pro-nudity itself. But... some of them had posted comments in the past regarding yaoi/bl titles saying "we don't want to see that" or "I wish it was illegal" therefore that contradiction makes me belief that some of them don't have any problem with censorship as long the censorship is directed towards something they don't like. People who read yaoi just want to read without being insulted or ridiculed for their taste, nobody is forcing anyone to read or enjoy yaoi.
Personally I hate endives, I think they taste nasty... but I don't want to have them banned.
That's like getting upset with someone eating a cake because you are on a diet.
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Posted 1/21/14 , edited 1/21/14

PauPow wrote:

Both post with good points. My point regarding the double standard, I didn't mean to sound like I was saying that female readers don't have the similar problems (often with yaoi). My point was that several readers (in the I''s censorship case) were saying that their fight was against censorship itself nothing to do with pro-nudity itself. But... some of them had posted comments in the past regarding yaoi/bl titles saying "we don't want to see that" or "I wish it was illegal" therefore that contradiction makes me belief that some of them don't have any problem with censorship as long the censorship is directed towards something they don't like. People who read yaoi just want to read without being insulted or ridiculed for their taste, nobody is forcing anyone to read or enjoy yaoi.
Personally I hate endives, I think they taste nasty... but I don't want to have them banned.
That's like getting upset with someone eating a cake because you are on a diet.


Sorry, I thought you were talking about a double standard in the manga industry. I definitely agree with you that there is a double standard from male readers. That being said, guys almost never have nipples in shounen and seinen titles, so I guess there is a double standard in the industry with regards to nudity.

Edit:
A thought: Do you think that censoring nudity is different than other kinds of censorship? I'm not really sure what I think about it, and I am against both, but it seems like a distinction could be made.
PauPow 
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Posted 1/21/14 , edited 1/21/14
I agree with you fuzzytipsy, I don't think that censoring nudity is different than other kinds of censorship. In the other side if someone cut a scene of for example Attack on Titan because it was too violent... it would bothered me more than cutting I don't know a showering scene of one the main characters. I think mostly because some erotic scenes in anime and manga don't provide that much to the main story. I'm ok with those scenes but often I feel that they could be cut completely and it will ok. I'm 33 years old, to be honest erotic scenes on anime/manga most of the time do nothing for me, sure when I was younger I was like . While violence is often quite gratuitous too, often it does affect the development of the story, for example a character dies or adds some dark tone to the series.
So in theory I don't think there is much difference between censoring nudity or censoring violence but at the end of the day I think censoring violence will bother me more.
Even after saying all that I can defend the opposite argument. I found funny in movies like Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf (2007) you can see someone's head explode and his eyes flying around but when the main characters is naked they put some steam to cover him.
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Posted 1/21/14 , edited 1/21/14
Given that I am new to the boards and at the moment, am mostly "passing through" so I really don't want to commit the specifics of the board rules to memory, I hope people can forgive my attempts at avoiding specifics. Edit: Speaking about censorship in general...

I'll begin by asking everyone consider:

1) What is the purpose of censorship?

2) Is it ever justified?

Instead of boring you with a wall of text, I'll just state that I understand "why" things are censored. I don't always consider censorship to be an act against "artistic integrity" because I don't view artists as being incapable of error. I've ruined my own works by failing to practice "self-censorship" because something that was either funny at the time (or is just "funny but offensive") tainted the entire work. There are many works I cannot enjoy or enjoy as much as I would because of some element that didn't need to be there but is there.

As to whether "subtle" versus "overt" is better, it likely depends upon to many variables. I would say subtle is best but one really needs to know the work is being censored. I do like that with digital media, there are more options; one can have access to both a "censored" and an "uncensored" version of a work.
Posted 1/21/14
There is less censorship with hentai than yaoi..same with the games..more censorship in bl games. I hate the censorship in manga,anime and games, there is never a justifiable reason..pixelation is really nasty.

In the case of yaoi being censored its because some men(the ones that make the laws..and this is only an issue in Japan) have insecurity issues with parts of the drawing..how pathetic. Thats my opinion because the law was really in response to yaoi manga,about 3 years ago this was a burning topic in the yaoi forums.. Anyway..its called the "Tokyo Youth Ordinance Bill"..google it if you are interested.
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Posted 1/21/14
I have a few pages worth of philosophy and observation that I was going to write but decided to make things brief.

Censorship is bad.
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Posted 1/21/14 , edited 1/21/14
For the "censorship is always bad" crowd, I wanted to add something I left out and probably shouldn't:

I was speaking universally. Not just that book you buy in the store or video you're watching via membership, but also including over-the-air broadcasts easily available to anyone of any age. I mean, if there is nothing you don't mind having come at you virtually out of nowhere... I can tell I won't be changing any minds, nor will I especially try.

The purpose of censorship (ignoring that like almost anything it can be subverted and perverted) is to avoid injury others. This can include things as simple as "offending" someone, but can extend to some more serious matters: many series start off with a lighter tone than they finish with, or at least can have some darker moments in the middle, and for some at that point the series crosses the line.

I have often wondered about the issue some people have with seeing nudity... that is how somehow not seeing someone's genitals diminishes their enjoyment of a story. Obviously this does not apply to someone actually seeking some form of sexual gratification from a story. A thought did just occur to me; like I said I am new to these forums; this thread isn't just about pornography, is it? I can understand people being upset that they refuse to show that for which the "work" was purchased.
PauPow 
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Posted 1/21/14 , edited 1/21/14
Well I don't like censorship either but regarding the "censorship is bad" ... Are you sure censorship is always bad?
So you will be ok for example showing a snuff movie on TV? What about extremely violence or torture? what about physical abuse towards women for example? what about underage kids in inappropriate situations? What about rape?
You will be ok showing that in primetime TV? You probably won't (I hope). Most people who are against ANY kind of censorship would be absolutely horrified in any of the previous example were showing on TV. Well that's a form of self-censorship.

Nobody here is saying censorship is awesome, but things are not always good or bad. We practice self-censorship in an everyday basis.
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Posted 1/21/14
Well, age of legal consent is different in Japan, so while the girls in I"s are of legal age there, it's not so in the US.

As far as censorship in general goes, I don't mind it as long as it's for a sensible reason, like the aforementioned age of consent issue. Leaving underage girls with their naughty bits exposed isn't in good taste (in my opinion), so it's got a good reason to be censored.

On the other hand, censoring for censoring's sake (or to appease censors) is not okay; I'd have to pull the artistic integrity card in that case. This is when you know they're doing it just to make it more bankable, or to avoid drawing fire from moral guardians.

Really, as with all things, it's a case-by-case basis. I hate blanket judgments like "all censorship is bad."
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Posted 1/22/14 , edited 1/22/14
Are there really people who want "censoring for censoring's sake", Genbu89?

I am sure there are a few that would do it "for lols", but that in itself as that is literally parody and usually not the only version of a work available.

Most of the time, "bad" censorship amounts:
1) Bad choices; trying to "make appropriate" a series for a viewership that simply cannot be accommodated.
2) Different standards; sometimes flat out "wrong" standards, but that really is a separate discussion over ethics.
3) Incompetent censorship; the problem isn't that someone felt something needed to be censored, just that they did a terrible job of it.
4) Freedom of speech violation.

These kinds of things are always going to be "bad censorship". The thing is, not all censorship is one of these things. I also have no problem with "censoring" something to allow it to reach a wider audience if it doesn't violate one of the four I just mentioned; especially if the uncensored content is still available in a "reasonable" manner. Thanks to modern technology, "reasonable" is becoming an easier and easier standard to meet. There are times when "artistic integrity" matters, but sometimes censoring something doesn't affect that, because the scene simply wasn't necessary to the artistic merit. If anything, it ends up being the opposite; something that undermines artistic integrity distracts from the "true art" and alienates the audience!

Here's a weird one for you; if an artist decides to censor his or her own work and someone prevents that... wouldn't that be a form of censorship itself? If "original" constitutes "true" for a piece of artwork, at what point is a work considered "finished"?

TL;DR: That got somewhat lengthy, so let me state that I am mostly in agreement with Genbu89; I just challenging his characterization of censorship for the sake of censorship and sought to be clear about where "bad" censorship comes from.
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